Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen, published by Orenda Books @OrendaBooks @annecater #GunnarStaalesen #review #blog

I was so lucky to receive an advance copy of Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen. A credible and dark page-turner with a relentless pace. Vivid, taut and evocative, this book had my pulse racing from start to finish.

Description:

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Vintage, classic Nordic Noir from international bestselling author Gunnar Staalesen.

Description: When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – the once-famous lead singer of 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship come to an abrupt end with a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

  • Paperback : 276 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1913193063
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1913193065
  • Publisher : Orenda Books (March 1, 2021)

PI Varg Veum reunites with a former friend Jakob at the funeral of Jan Petter in Bergen. The reunion brings back old memories of former classmates, some of whom have already died, but none, as it turns out, from old age.

Deciding to go for a pub crawl with their friend Paul Finckel, they reminisce about the past. There’s a melancholy mood to the opening chapters as if the ‘group’ are trying to reclaim their youth, trapped in an eddy of musical memories of The Harpers for which Veum was a roadie. They drink and carouse the night away, while ‘valleslette’ – sleet and biting winds and a few degrees above zero – sets the tone. Even though there is no life on the fjord there is always the Beetles…

Jakob asks Veum to search for his wife, Rebecca, a girl who grew up with Veum in Nordnes in the 60s. Thinking she may have run off with Johnny Solheim, Veum makes inquiries. But Johnny has a wife and claims he hasn’t seen Rebecca.

A few hours in another Sodom and Gomorrah type watering hole ‘where Caligula would have felt at home,’ Veum finds a heap of bad news outside. Holed up in a tight space and dreaming of the Rebecca he once knew, he is forced to answer a few questions. As another picture of an angel surfaces, Veum’s sharp instincts recognise the deaths may be connected. What did happened after the dissolution of the band? Someone is carrying around an awful secret and with Staalesen’s great sense of pacing, the reveal was phenomenal.

Fallen Angels is a remarkable example of its genre. The religious and psychological aspects bring deeper layers to the novel as told in powerful prose. It’s an elegant and complex thriller, meticulously laid out with a corkscrewing plot. The characters are well-drawn and mysterious, and the protagonist takes us on a wild ride with vivid scenes of Norway in December and its snowy, sleet-grey skies. There’s no doubt about it: Staalesen belongs on every crime fiction reader’s bookshelf.

My thanks to the publisher, Orenda Books, the author, Gunnar Staalesen and Anne Cater, blog tour organiser for the privilege of reading an advance copy of this book.

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Praise for Gunnar Staalesen

‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means “wolf ” in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin

‘The Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbø

‘Not many books hook you in the first chapter – this one did, and never let go!’ Mari Hannah

‘Staalesen continually reminds us he is one of the finest of Nordic novelists’ Financial Times

‘Chilling and perilous results — all told in a pleasingly dry style’ Sunday Times

‘Staalesen does a masterful job of exposing the worst of Norwegian society in this highly disturbing entry’ Publishers Weekly

‘The Varg Veum series is more concerned with character and motivation than spectacle, and it’s in the quieter scenes that the real drama lies’ Herald Scotland

‘Every inch the equal of his Nordic confreres Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo’ Independent

‘Mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland

‘One of the finest Nordic novelists – in the tradition of Henning Menkell’ Barry Forshaw, Independent

‘Masterful pacing’ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen published the first book in the Varg Veum series in 1977. He is now the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. 

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

Other Books by Gunnar Staalesen

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver, published by Orenda Books. @will_carver @OrendaBooks #blog #review @annecater

Another exciting tale from a brilliant writer! A gripping read that explores the nature of evil and his relentless pursuit to stir the pot. While the small town of Hinton Hollow’s residents smolder with renewed passion, energy and vice, the story takes one twist after another until reality itself is called into question, and everything they knew about love and hope will change.

Book Description

Five days in the history of a small rural town, visited and infected by darkness, are recounted by Evil itself. A stunning high-concept thriller from the bestselling author of Good Samaritansand Nothing Important Happened Today.

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

Review

Hinton Hollow Death Trip follows Detective Sergeant Pace to his old stamping ground. He is hoping for peace. But peace is the last thing he is going to get. Something sinister follows him there, blowing in on an ill wind. And it’s here to stay.

This book, written from the perspective of Evil itself, is a dark, brooding tale that casts a malevolent pall around the residents of Hinton Hollow. A select group of people whose secrets are laid bare and whose lives are tossed into the air as if they were dice.

Evil is the game show host. He dishes out strife and turmoil at the drop of a hat. And he’s very good at it.

Little Henry Wallace, alone on the train, isn’t afraid. Like a good boy, he’s not to talk to anyone. The note around his neck says it all. Darren works in an abattoir but are his vile actions his own, or has evil whispered in his ear? Dorothy Reilly is eating her way to heart failure. It’s only a matter of time. The Hardings don’t interact, until Evil waves a hand. Why did Annie throw a brick through the florist window? The most frightening of these is the Brady family and the man with a gun.

DS Pace is apprehensive about returning to Hinton Hollow, and I don’t blame him. There’s a lot to greet him when he gets there. Will he return Maeve’s call? Or will she be permanently banished to voicemail? He can’t forget the people who jumped from Tower Bridge and he’s running with no idea Evil is right there with him, the invisible shadow behind him.

All the people who are affected by this blast of doom are somehow intertwined, from the flower arranger — who prepared the wreath for Oz’s father’s grave four years ago — to the unsuspecting Faith Brady where nothing important had happened that day. But it would, something so horrific and something you’d never imagine because Evil dances around them all.

To me this book has a Dekker-esque feel. I’m thinking of Showdown in his Paradise series and almost eerily reminiscent of Peretti’s This Present Darkness. Where it differs, is that Hinton Hollow Death Trip is psychological warfare rather than spiritual, and takes place in a secular, true-to-life setting. Strong, unforgettable characters and a carefully constructed plot make this the next HUGE bestseller in its genre. A wickedly smart page-turner that reveals the thin line between psychosis and insanity. It will keep you glued to its pages and guessing wrong until its breathless ending.

So many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books, Will Carver and Anne Cater for allowing me the privilege of reading this book.

What other people are saying:

‘Carver as one of the most exciting authors in Britain. After this, he’ll have his own cult following’ Daily Express

‘Weirdly page-turning’ Sunday Times

‘Laying bare our 21st-century weaknesses and dilemmas, Carver has created a highly original state-of-the-nation novel’ Literary Review

‘Arguably the most original crime novel published this year’ Independent

‘At once fantastical and appallingly plausible; this mesmeric novel paints a thought-provoking if depressing picture of modern life’ Guardian

‘This book is most memorable for its unrepentant darkness’ Telegraph

‘Unlike anything else you’ll read this year’ Heat

‘Utterly mesmerising;’ Crime Monthly

About the Author:

BLOG TOUR: Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver - NBWill Carver lives in Reading, though his younger years were spent in various parts of West Germany. He is the author of four books in the JANUARY DAVID thriller series – GIRL 4 (UK: Arrow, 2011), THE TWO (UK: Arrow, 2012), DEAD SET (UK: Arrow, 2013) and THE KILLER INSIDE (UK: Arrow, 2013).

Carver likes to work his body as much as his mind and runs his own fitness and nutrition company, though he prefers to talk about his writing more than how he consumes adequate protein as a vegan. 

‘I was blown away by this gripping book. I sense Carver will break out of genre boundaries and become a literary voice to be reckoned with.’ —Sarah Pinborough

‘There is a vivid – almost cinematic – quality to the writing. It is intense and makes for uncomfortable yet compulsive reading.’ — News of the World

 

Will Carver other books

 

Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds @OrendaBooks @Rod_WR #crimeactionfiction #review #blog @annecater

Once again, I find myself praising Orenda Books for introducing me to another fabulous writer. I’m blown away by this compelling thriller that dishes out cliff-edge tension. A pacey read with so many blind alleys you feel dizzy with excitement. It’s the kind of story you could inhale in a leisurely few hours.

Book Description:

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts—until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime. Michael Stringer deals in information—and doesn’t care on which side of the law he finds himself. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows. When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect, and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet. Blood Red City twists and feints to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

 

  • File Size: 639 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda Books (April 11, 2020)
  • Publication Date: April 11, 2020
  • ASIN: B082P734LB

Review

Journalist Lydia Wright works the graveyard shift on the showbiz desk. She has only been with the company twelve months and receives a video of an assault on the Northern line of the London Underground. An empty carriage and a man struggling for his life, a slowly unfurling nightmare that had me biting my nails down to the quick. There is no indication of who’d sent it, or any reason why Lydia had been targeted to receive it. Fake news? Maybe not.

With no indication of who the killers might be, gutsy Lydia meets her friend Tammy Hodgson, a former investigative journalist at the same paper, who’s brief meeting with the victim ‘Joe the banker’ has left her nervous. A money laundering scheme begins to unravel, while at the same time, promising a story worthy of a comeback. But will Lydia jump on the same bandwagon if her life is at risk? Working on the 13th floor could be seen as unlucky in some cultures, but maybe her luck is about to change.

To me Lydia is someone you care about. Her die-hard mentality gives a reason to keep going when everything tells her to give up. Following every lead, her tenacity never fails and I suppose you could put it down to a journo’s unmistakable determination to see it through to the end. The visceral prose draws you right in and with one revelation after another, it’s hard to put the book down. This is what kept me hooked.

Written in Reynold’s unique descriptive style, this is not an offering to be missed. There’s just the right amount of backstory not to bog you down and I enjoyed the way he toys with your expectations right up until the packs-a-punch ending. The dialogue is top-notch. I’m not sure I’ve seen it done better. As befits a crime action book of this nature, it’s the twists that make this novel such an exciting and surprising reading experience, and I enjoyed keeping company with these exceptional characters. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone is working on a screen play to bring Blood Red City out as a film sometime soon. Highly recommended.

Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books, Anne Cater for including me on this blog tour, and author Rod Reynolds for an advance copy of this fabulous book.

About the Author:

www.davidhigham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/ybtpde...Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters. Contact him:

twitter: @Rod_WR
email: rodreynoldsauthor@gmail.com

What people are saying:

‘Brutal, brilliant and razor sharp. Blood Red City is pure adrenaline rush from the first page to the last’ Chris Whitaker

‘A searing, white-hot journey through the dark underbelly of modern London. Bristling with tension, danger and seamed with the constant threat of violence … Blood Red City confirms Rod Reynolds status as one of the greatest crime talents of his generation’ Tim Baker

‘An outstanding page-turner that ratchets up the tension as it builds via a labyrinthine plot towards a satisfying and well-crafted climax … relevant and at times alarming, Blood Red City slaloms its way through the world of social media, geopolitics and hi-tech innovation with compelling conviction’ G.J. Minett

‘A well-researched, complex and fully realised story with three-dimensional lead characters. The creeping tension and mistrust is palpable and there’s an absolutely cracking end reveal’ Shots Magazine

More Books By Rod Reynolds

Rod Reynolds

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